James Whelan Butchers: Beef and Crozier Blue Pie with a Suet Crust

April Bloomfield is the British chef behind the Spotted Pig in New York. We took inspiration from a recipe in her book, A Girl and Her Pig, to create this luxurious pie that celebrates not only quality beef, but also one of our wonderful Tipperary cheeses, which is produced by the Grubb family, who also make Cashel Blue. You could substitute any similar blue cheese–Bellingham Blue from Co. Louth is another that we like a lot. This is a recipe to be made over a weekend, as it’s a two-step process, but by goodness is it worth it. And don’t worry if you’ve never made suet pastry before—it’s very forgiving. You will need a non-stick springform pan, 20 cm in diameter and 8 cm deep.

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For the filling:

  • 1 kg shin beef, cut into chunks about
  • 2.5 x 5 cm
  • 1 tablespoon sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 40 g plain flour
  • 100 ml extra virgin olive oil or Irish rapeseed oil
  • 2 heads garlic, cloves separated and peeled
  • 2 medium onions, halved lengthwise and sliced thickly
  • 2 tablespoons thyme leaves, chopped
  • 1. tablespoons black peppercorns, coarsely crushed
  • 675 ml dry red wine
  • 675 ml chicken stock, preferably homemade

For the suet pastry:

  • 450 g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 150 g freshly ground suet, chilled
  • about 50 ml ice-cold water

To finish:

  • butter, at room temperature, for greasing the tin
  • 150 g Crozier Blue cheese
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tablespoon whole milk

To Cook

Put the meat in a big bowl and season it with the salt and pepper. Add the flour and toss, ensuring all pieces are evenly coated. Put a wide, heavy, ovenproof casserole dish over a high heat and pour in half the oil. When it begins to smoke, brown the meat on all sides in batches, adding more oil as necessary. Transfer the meat to a plate. Add the garlic, onions, thyme and peppercorns to the pot, and cook, without stirring, for about 3 minutes. Return the meat to the pot, stir well and cook for ten minutes, stirring now and again. Pour in the red wine, stir and bring to a simmer. Turn the heat down to maintain a gentle simmer and cook until the liquid looks a little viscous, about 15 minutes. Add the stock, return to a simmer, cover the pot and cook at a gentle simmer until the meat is tender, about two hours. Allow the filling to cool in the pot, cover with a lid, and chill overnight in the fridge. To make the pastry, mix together the flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl, then mix in the suet. Add 50 ml water, stirring the mixture with a fork and gradually adding more water if you need it, until you have a slightly sticky dough with the fat well distributed rather than in large chunks. Cover with clingfilm and chill for at least 2 hours and up to 24 hours. The next day, remove the meat from the pot and put it in a large bowl. There will be about a litre of solidified liquid remaining in the pot. Put the pot over a medium-high heat, bring the liquid to the boil, and cook, stirring frequently to make sure the onion doesn’t stick to the bottom, until it has reduced by half, about 45 minutes. Meanwhile, break the chunks of meat into smaller pieces. Allow the reduced liquid to cool completely and pour it over the meat. Give it a gentle stir. Grease the tin with the butter. Make a rough ball with ®˙ of the dough, keeping the rest in the fridge. Dust the work surface with flour and roll out the dough ball into a 35 cm disc. Place it in the tin, gently pressing it against the bottom and up the sides so it fits securely. Chill in the fridge for at least 15 minutes. Preheat the oven to 180˚C/fan 160˚C/gas mark 4. Spoon half the beef filling into the pie shell. Crumble half the cheese into large chunks and scatter over the filling. Spoon in the rest of the filling and scatter with the remaining cheese. Dust the work surface with flour again. Form the remaining dough into a rough ball and roll it into a circle about 25 cm across. Cut out a circle about 2.5 cm across from the centre of the round and set the small disc aside. Whisk together the egg yolk and milk in a small bowl. Use a pastry brush to brush the rim of the pie with some of the egg mixture. Lay the 25 cm round on top of the pie and press it lightly against the rim of the bottom crust until it adheres. Trim off any overhang with a knife, reserve it, and crimp the edges. Form the reserved dough scraps into a ball. Lightly flour the surface again and roll out the dough into a disc about 0.5 cm thick. Cut out a 5 cm circle from the dough, then cut a 2 cm hole in the centre of that, to make an O-shaped piece of dough. Brush the top of the pie with the egg mixture and place the O of dough on top so that the holes line up. Chill for about 15 minutes. Brush the top of the pie again with the remaining egg mixture and bake, rotating the tin occasionally, until the crust is crisp and golden brown all over, about 11/2 hours. Put the tin on a rack and use a knife to make sure the sides of the crust have separated from the tin. Allow it to rest for about 25 minutes. Carefully loosen the spring and remove the pie. Cut into wedges and serve with a green salad.

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